The Ministry of Women and Child Development has reported that in 2016, 19,223 women and children were trafficked in India constituting a rise of almost 25% from the previous year. Further it is estimated that West Bengal accounts for about 42% of all trafficking cases given its geographic location near the borders of Nepal and Bangladesh. Within Bengal, South 24 Parganas features among the top five districts in terms of trafficking. Most of the girls who are trafficked are lured from their homes with the false promise of an opportunity for employment. Even when girls are rescued and brought back, the biggest obstacle they face is lack of gainful occupation. This is why MISSING believes that to root out trafficking, it is crucial to provide livelihood opportunities in high trafficking areas.
Our work in rural Bengal has led us to start several livelihood programs that benefits both survivors of trafficking as well as vulnerable girls in high-trafficking areas. We are currently mentoring girls for tailoring, using computer programs and in videography as well. We hope that they can, in their own right, become investigative journalists and take our call for End Demand and End Slavery to a new level, by showing us the real trials a girl encounters, in face of the violent world of trafficking. MISSING plans to set up 9 livelihood programs by the end of 2017; one in each gram panchayat of Kultali. We can provide livelihood to many more high risk youth and vulnerable girls. Help us fulfill our objective by spreading awareness about this heinous issue and contribute in whichever way you can. Let us all cry ‘Abolitionist.’
We are now collaborating with the German Consulate to open a center for training 40 girls who are either survivors of trafficking, child marriage, rape, domestic violence or are highly vulnerable to trafficking due to their poor economic situation. These livelihood centers in impoverished areas help to create long-lasting change, as those are the areas that are most vulnerable to the issue of sex trafficking.
In rural Bengal, most of the trafficked survivors, are accepted back into their families, the generic “stigma” of the girl not being considered pure anymore, is not as prevalent. This is perhaps because the girl child is treated with affection once brought into the family and is often a victim of trafficking by being lured away from home and not with consent of her family. We see cases of girls being abandoned more towards the North of the country. Thus, there is a great need in the villages of Kultali block in Bengal to provide livelihood and income generating opportunities.
We plan to train over 100 girls in the span of a year and a half.
During this program, the girls will not only get training and artisan skills but they will also be learning life skills; how to set up a bank account, the importance of an Adhaar Card and so on. These are very important too, as many of these girls are easily robbed of all their earnings due to a lack in understanding the workings of a bank.
The idea behind this initiative is to transform the area by empowering the women of the area. We can do that by keeping them safe from trafficking and exploitation. In the future we hope to expand this line and take the program further by providing employment to many more women in this region.